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Highest wicket takers in each edition of the Cricket World Cup

The 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup will be held in England and Wales from 30th of May 2019. The cricket fans across the globe are eagerly waiting for the World Cup to begin. The countdown for this mega event has already begun. An excellent bowling unit has been a common characteristic of all the teams that have lifted the cup. Be it the five times champions Australia or the winners of the first World Cup, the West Indies, all of the sides who have won the cup have sported a balanced and sharp bowling lineup.

In this article, we go down the memory lane and take a look at all the bowlers, who have taken the maximum number of wickets in each edition of the World Cup thus far.

#1: 1975- Gary Gilmour (Australia):- Matches:2 Wickets: 11


In the first edition of the Cricket World Cup, held in England in 1975, the left-handed Aussie pacer Gary Gilmour did something remarkable.

He became the highest wicket taker of the tournament, even after playing just 2 matches. In the group stages of the tournament, Gilmour was not picked in the playing eleven. He got his first opportunity in the semifinals against England and he finished with a match-winning spell of 12-6-14-6. (overs-maidens-runs-wickets).

In the final against the mighty West Indians, he got another 5 wicket haul. However, his side lost the match and ended the tournament as runners up.

#2: 1979- Mike Hendricks (England):- Matches:5 Wickets: 10

In 1979, the second edition of the Cricket World Cup, again held in England, saw a typical English pacer, Mike Hendricks, become the highest wicket taker of the tournament. Although his performance was nowhere as spectacular as Gary Gilmour, Mike Hendricks was very consistent throughout the tournament and played an important role in taking his team to the finals. However, in the finals, England lost out to the great West Indies team and finished runners up.

#3: 1983- Roger Binny (India):- Matches:8 Wickets: 18

India’s right arm medium pacer, Roger Binny became the highest wicket-taker in the 3rd edition of the Cricket World Cup, in 1983. He had a dream World Cup with the ball and was the most consistent bowler in the tournament. As a first or second change bowler, he provided crucial breakthroughs in all the matches and was instrumental behind India’s victory in the tournament.

#4: 1987 Edition- Craig Mcdermott (Australia):- Matches:8 Wickets: 18

In the 1987 World Cup, held in the Indian subcontinent, the Aussie pacer Craig Mcdermott became the highest wicket taker of the tournament. He was the leader of the Australian pace attack. His 5 wicket haul in the semifinals against Pakistan was a match-winning effort. Craig Mcdermott played a key role, in Australia’s first ever World Cup triumph.

#5: 1992- Wasim Akram (Pakistan):- Matches:10 Wickets: 18

In the 1992 Cricket World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand, Wasim Akram became the highest wicket-taker. The speedster from Pakistan had a huge impact in the tournament and went on to become one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game. In the finals, Akram bowled a mesmerising spell against England and helped his country to win their first ever World Cup.

#6: 1996- Anil Kumble (India):- Matches:7 Wickets: 15

The legendary Indian leg spinner, Anil Kumble was the highest wicket-taker in the 1996 World Cup, held in the Indian subcontinent. He became the first spinner to achieve this feat. Kumble was very consistent throughout the tournament. He played an important role in taking India to the semifinals. However, India lost against Sri Lanka in the last four and were knocked out.

#7: 1999-

Geoff Allott (New Zealand):- Matches: 9 Wickets: 20 &

Shane Warne (Australia) :- Matches: 10 Wickets: 20

The 1999 Cricket World Cup in England, saw for the first time, 2 bowlers sharing the honours for the top wicket-takers spot.

The left arm Kiwi pacer Geoff Allott and the legendary Aussie leg spinner Shane Warne were at the top of the wicket-takers list with 20 wickets each. Geoff Allott was the most prolific wicket-taker in the early part of the tournament.

Shane Warne, on the other hand, reserved his best for the last. He produced two match-winning performances in the semifinals and the finals and thus helped Australia win their 2nd World Cup title.

#8: 2003- Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka):- Matches: 10 Wickets: 23

In the 2003 Cricket World Cup, held in South Africa, the Srilankan left-arm pacer Chaminda Vaas bagged the top wicket taker’s spot. He achieved a unique feat of taking a hat-trick, of the first 3 balls of the match, against Bangladesh. Vaas was one of the biggest match winners for Sri Lanka in the entire tournament. However, he failed to win the trophy, as SriLanka lost against the Aussies in the semifinals.

#9: 2007- Glenn McGrath (Australia):- Matches: 11 Wickets: 26

The legendary Australian pacer Glenn McGrath became the highest wicket-taker in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, held in West Indies. He was the most consistent bowler of the tournament and provided important breakthroughs, whenever he had the ball in his hand. His fabulous performance against South Africa in the semifinals helped the Australian team, ease into the finals and eventually win their fourth World Cup Title.

#10: 2011 Edition-

Zaheer Khan (India):- Matches: 9 Wickets: 21 &

Shahid Afridi (Pakistan):- Matches: 8 Wickets: 21

Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and India’s Zaheer Khan were the joint highest wicket-takers of the 2011 Cricket World Cup held in Indian Sub continent.

Shahid Afridi, who was selected as an all-rounder, turned out to be Pakistan’s best bowler in the tournament. His fast-paced leg spinners proved too lethal and helped him take heaps of wickets. However, he could not win the trophy, as his team lost to India, the eventual champions.

Zaheer Khan, on the other hand, had been the leader of the Indian pace attack. He was the most consistent bowler of the tournament. Although he did not run through opposition batting lineups, he took crucial wickets in each and every match. His performance paved the way for India’s victory in the tournament.

#11: 2015 Edition-

Mitchell Starc (Australia):- Matches: 8 Wickets: 22 &

Trent Boult (New Zealand):- Matches: 9 Wickets: 22

The 2015 edition of the World Cup again saw two bowlers jointly becoming the highest wicket takes. What was more unique was that both of them were left-arm pacers and the leaders of the pace attack of their respective countries.

Both Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult’s match-winning performances with the ball, helped their teams reach the finals of the World Cup. But in the finals, Strac performed better than Boult, and thus helped his team win their 5th World title.

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